With the transfer season in full swing, agents around the world are trying to coax the most money possible out of the players they represent. One of the ways agents do this is by leaking select information to the media in order to strengthen their position in negotiations, whether that means a player’s current club improving that player’s contract or a prospective club increasing its offer in order to outbid the competition.
Mino Raiola, the agent of Paul Pogba, as well as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, is an expert at this. So it came as a small surprise that he apparently has told Marca about some “preliminary” discussions he has had with Real Madrid about the transfer of Paul Pogba.
Here’s what Raiola had to say:
"We are in the preliminary phase of negotiations. Pogba admires Real Madrid and [head coach] Zinedine Zidane and this is going to be very important in his decision."
Raiola wasn’t shy about estimating what the young French midfielder could be worth:
"[He could cost] €120 million or €140m. He is worth whatever a club are willing to pay for him."
He also clear the ambitions of Pogba, spefically that a large paycheck is not a greater priority than winning trophies:
"Pogba's interest is not in being the most expensive signing and neither is it mine.
"The aim is for him to join the best sporting project and win as many titles as possible. We are talking with three teams and Paul likes the sporting projects of some of those."
And in a classic negotiating tactic, Raiola hedged all that he said about Real Madrid by admitting that transfer talks are in a very early stage. In doing so, he is leaving the door open for other clubs besides Real Madrid to come in and bid on Pogba’s services. Options, people, options.
"We are in the initial phase, it's not a negotiation. Both sides know what they want and we shall see if we complete a deal or it ends in divorce."
Being open to options is one thing, but actually getting attention is quite another, and Raiola knows this, so when he was asked about who was showing interest in Pogba he said, “"Sheikhs, everybody."
And the cherry on top: Raiola also stated that Pogba is also perfectly happy with staying at Juventus.
And that is how you play the game: ready to love, ready to walk away. Who knew Raiola was such a romantic.